Monday, August 24, 2015

A kindergarten Exam

Next week, Alyia will begin Chinese kindergarten. Its basically the equivalent of pre-school in America, and most kids attend for 4 years; beginning at age 2 or 3. Since she is already 4, she is jumping to the third year...and we see this as a wonderful opportunity for her to develop her spoken Chinese, as well as make friends with kids her age.


Before she can begin however, she needs to have a physical exam. This is a requirement for any kids, so the kinder doctor office is always crowded. Renee, Alyia and I set off this morning to get it done.

Step one, get out of the way of the "dueling cars"


Step two, pay ¥82  ($12) and go stand in line.

Step three, get weighed and measured and be told that "she is heavy"


Step four, get your heart listened to, teeth checked

Step five, urinate in a little cup, and give it to the nurse (not pictured)

 Step six, stand in a long line while you wait for them to call your name

Step seven, smile while they take some blood-and get cheers because every other child screamed/cried/threw fits and you did not. 

Step eight, play with your new ¥18 ($2.50) toy that you got while you wait for them to test your blood and your not pictured urine. 
Step nine, smile and pose with your medical book. Congratulations, you can now attend kindergarten!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

A visit to a Chinese hospital

While experiences at the local hospital are changing quickly and more Western influences are creeping in, there are still some major differences between the way we do things in America and in our amazing city of Changsha.


Yesterday, Tegan hurt himself at Tae Kwon Do, and by evening it was clear there was a big problem. So at 10:00 pm, Renee and Tegan set off to the hospital. In China you do not go to a doctors office..everything is at the hospital.


Thankfully, the visit to the ER went remarkably well.





We had to go back this morning, just for a follow up. The younger kids discovered that Tegan is limited in what he can do, so they are having to serve him, to help him a little more. So far they are embracing that role!

They are all hopping like their brother...

The next few pictures are from our visit to the hospital this morning for his followup!

When you arrive, you have to go stand in line and tell the reception desk what is wrong. They assign you a number, and tell you what office to go to.  You go directly to a specialist every time.  They also charge you about ¥4--less than a dollar--for the doctor fee. The tests and treatments are extra...but the doctor is very cheap!


Next, you go upstairs and wait till your number is called. That can take a while, but its fairly orderly since they started giving numbers and wait times! Finally they call your name....



Then you go to your assigned room and wait for the doctor to call you in. Then you are all done. Fortunately, Tegan does not need surgery or anything, just time. 


In China, they do not provide you with crutches and such. They would just tell him to hop. I decided that was not the best for him, so I went and bought some crunches for him at the medical supply store next door. It cost me about $16...not bad!

In fact, the total bill was less than $100.00 That includes, a ER visit, a follow up visit, a cast, two X-rays, and a LOT of medicine (for pain, swelling)


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Overwhelmed!


Overwhelmed! In so many ways!

-By the love and provision of our Father.  From the moment we landed in China, it has been quite obvious that He has prepared the way for us.  He hand picked a house that we truly don't deserve, and reserved it at a price that was well within our budget.  He has prepared the perfect teaching position for Josh with great students and coworkers.  He has placed many friends for our children right near our home.  He has strengthened (and stretched) us during the record-breaking heat wave.  He has kept our heads held high when our eyelids are ready to close.  He has performed miracles in paperwork.  He is just SO GOOD!!!! 

-By the opportunities waiting here for us.  From being welcomed back into the deaf schools, to connecting with old friends who have grown so much, to new friends being placed right next door, to a group of moms wanting to meet together, we are constantly being amazed by all the opportunities that have been prepared ahead of us.  We can't wait to fully explore each and every one of these avenues and discover all the great things He has planned for us.  

-By the flexibility and strength our children exhibit.  Let's face it.  Moving is hard!  Lots of good byes, toys given away, missing favorite foods, loss of routine, feelings of isolation.  For anyone, transition is hard.  But, our kids (ages 9, 8 and 4) have faced all of this with such a great attitude and excitement for the journey.  They've jumped right back into struggling through the language and have made new friends.  They've ventured out to try new foods and embraced the culture as their own.  They've done it all most of it with smiles on their faces.  These kids are just as chosen as we are for this life!

-By the hospitality of our Chinese neighbors.  You'll read more about this one soon in a post entitled "Have You Eaten Yet? 你吃了沒有?"  

-By the support of our friends and family in the US.  We have received countless messages from those we have left behind.  We are encouraged by your prayers for our family during this time of transition.  We truly couldn't do this without the love and backing of our friends and family...Thank you!!!


Please continue to lift us up.  We are still in the midst of transition, but we are encouraged and excited about all that this summer and the coming years will bring.  We are held in the palm of His hand, and it's the perfect place to be!  

"If I rise on the wings of the dawn, 
if I settle on the far side of the sea, 
even there His hand will guide me.  
His right hand will hold me fast."  
~ an excerpt from one of David's songs

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What We Look Forward To

We talked all about the things we will miss from the US here
so now I thought we'd list the things we are looking forward to in China.

Josh
Chinese Food
Being On the University Campus
The Sights and Sounds
Stuffing Ourselves into an already Overcrowded Bus
Red Brick Sidewalks

Renee
Reconnecting With Friends
Speaking Chinese
Chatting With All The Nai Nais (grandmas) At The Playground
Eating Baozi For Breakfast
Climbing the Mountain

Tegan
Tae Kwon Do
Love Birds (read about it here)
Chinese Food
Public Transportation
Elevators

Preston
Playing With Old Friends
White Rabbit Candy
Having A Little Bit More Freedom To Run Free
Tae Kwon Do
Having My Own Phone

Alyia
Rice Every Day
Turtle
Seeing My Friend, Ting Ting
Ni Hao School (Chinese Kindergarten)
New House

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

What We Will Miss

We keep getting the question, 
"What will you miss from the US while you are in China?"  
Here are our answers.


Josh
Starburst Jelly Beans
My Van
Blue Skies
Certain Western Cooking Products
Buying Clothes That Fit A Western Body

Renee
Sunshine
Clean Air
Walls That Can Wipe Clean
Clean Water From Faucet
Kid-Free Date Nights

Tegan
Red Robin
Matthew & Jillian, Travis
Pizza
Soccer
KSG (Kids' Small Groups)

Preston
Friends
Our House
Blue Jays
Our Park
Grandparents

Alyia
School
Candy at Grandma's House
Friends
Rock Collection
Bubble Baths




STAY TUNED!
The next post will be
"What we look forward to in China"

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Waiting

Today was the last day of school for Tegan and Preston (and for me to since we homeschool).  As is our custom on the last day of each year, we read "Oh, The Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss.


I love this book!  Every time I read it, there's something different that grabs my attention.
Today, this is what got me...


Waiting...it seems to be all we do these days.

So many times, waiting means we have NO CONTROL over what is happing.
We just have to wait.
We wait for move out day, for the day we fly out, for the chance to see all our friends in China.  
We wait for our car to sell and for our visas to arrive (which they did!).
We just have to wait, and sometimes most times, we aren't so good at it.

So comes the wisdom of Dr. Seuss...in the very next page!


See, at some point, the waiting ends and the road begins.  Kinda sounds like a country song...
But even in the waiting, we can find the Boom Bands playing.
Even when circumstances would distract us from all the exciting things going on,
we HAVE to find the "bright places".  

For now, while we wait, we find joy in knowing that we will be home soon enough, that we have a little longer with people we love in the US, that we have a little bit longer to enjoy some of our favorite American treats, and most importantly that
WE KNOW WHO IS DIRECTING OUR PATHS!

All that waiting, "NO! that's not for you!"
At least that's not where our focus is meant to be.
It's hard, but I'll work to keep my focus in the right places if you will...
Deal?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Love Birds

"Look at the birds of the air...
are you not worth much more than they?"
~Matthew~

I'm amazed at how He cares for us.  He provides day in and day out.  In big and small ways.  We've seen the pieces of a quite intricate puzzle come together so perfectly in the last 8 weeks or so.  EIGHT WEEKS!!!! That's how long is been since Josh began talks with the university.  Now, we have Visas and plane tickets!  Move out dates and packed bags!  For the first time in a loooooooong time, we can make plans...BIG THINGS, I tell ya!

But what about the little things--the birds of the air?  Yeppers!  He takes care of those too!

You see, since before we left China, Tegan has been asking for 2 parakeets.  We told him that when we return to China, if he is still interested, he could get them.  After all, it's good for a 9 year old boy getting ready to leave his current life behind for a move across the world to have something to look forward to.

For the last year, he's been researching how to care for parakeets.  He's been brainstorming names for them.  I suggested "Keet" and "Keet" so he'd have a "pair o' keets", but he was not impressed and insists on naming them himself.  He's pretty excited about his birds.

Just yesterday, we heard from a friend in Changsha.  Their family was gifted a pair of love birds, and they have been hoping to find a family to take them.  They heard about Tegan's plan and asked if he would like to adopt the pair.  As he researched the difference between parakeets and love birds, Tegan found that love birds are "way cooler" than parakeets.

He cares for all the little things!  Yes, He cares for the (love)birds, but He also cares for the desires of my young boy's heart.  In all of it, He is faithful.

The two boys are the current owners and the girls are the ones who gave it to them.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Going Home!

After a longer than expected/desired time in America, we are very happy to announce that we are returning home! Home to Changsha that is.

We have 2 weeks and 2 days till we fly from Seattle to Seoul to Changsha! Honestly, time can't go fast enough, as this is a long awaited adventure. We are also very excited that we will be returning to the same area of town just a short distance from where we lived and worked before. The kids especially are excited about that!

I have signed a contract with Hunan University of Finance and Economics and will be teaching basic English classes to students of all abilities and education levels. We are incredibly excited to return and begin the next phase of our life. China has played a huge part in my life since 1998, and in the life of my wife since 2002.

We will be updating this blog more as time gets closer and when we arrive. We want people to get excited about what we are doing and follow us as we live this amazing life that we are honored to call ours!

We do ask that people remember us as we begin this next journey, and if you want to help us, please let me know!

Just a few pictures of the amazing city we call ours...